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THE    CHRISTIAN   AND    HISTORICAL   STUDY

we shall see, he rises above what are generally regarded
as the ordinary methods of science.

Jt may be suggested that, though religious men have
been inconceivably unwise on so many occasions, the
Christian who adopts the view of the scientific method
that has been described is in a position to hold his mind
more free for hypothesis than those who seek from
science their over-all view of life and the universe. It
is the Marxists and the secularist systematisers of our
time who, without reaching as high as God and without
confining themselves to necessary inferences from
observed phenomena, commit their minds to vast
intermediate systems of ideas—systems which are less
capable of elasticity than science itself demands, and
which control the range of hypothesis sometimes, or
constrict the adventures of the mind, since they create
their own demand for conservatism and consistency.
On one occasion in the Middle Ages, when the teaching
of Aristotle insisted that God Himself could not have
created a vacuum or an infinite universe or a plurality
of worlds, an ecclesiastical decision rejected this limita-
tion upon the power of God, and freed these things for
hypothesis in a way that the Church has too rarely dared
to do. The believer in Providence can be prepared for
any surprises. The Christian need put no limits to the
Creator's versatility.

One cannot even feel certain that the view of truth
to which we are accustomed would long survive the
existence of a Christian civilisation. It may still tran-
spire that the notion of what we might call absolute
truth is not unconnected with religion—not unconnected

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